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Happy Halloween!


One year ago today, this bony little Halloween skeleton gave us the thumbs up to let us know that everything was all good... And also to let us know that she was a GIRL!  



The minute we saw this picture, we knew that she was going to be a wild child.... and she hasn't let us down yet!

Happy Halloween from The Martini Family!


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6 Months


The baby girl is officially 6 months old!

  W at 6 Months

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Giveaway Winners And Such


It's been one of those busy months where some days I have to triple-check just to make sure I brushed my teeth in the morning.  I'm working on an update to my 101 in 1,001 list because i'm actually making some good progress, but it seems I'm so busy doing things that I don't have time to write about them.  A blessing and a curse, I suppose.

Two things- First, we have 2 winners from the 100 Days to Christmas giveaway!  Congratulations to Maria Starr and Danica- I'll be emailing you this week to get you your free copies of the 100 Days to Christmas eBook from ListPlanIt, so you can catch up on last week's preparations (something I need to do myself).

And second, I'll fill in the void recently opened in my renewed blogging mojo by posting a pic of the kiddo.  This was her face in the ride to the airport a few weeks back, where I headed to my first post-baby business trip (aka the first time I was away from the baby for more than 8 hours).  Is it just me, or does someone look happy for me to be leaving?


IMG_3963

Contrast this with the face I got upon my arrival back home 2 days later:


Who are you again?

"Who are you, again?"

So much for a Hollywood movie-style reunion.

xoxo,
Lulu
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Giveaway! - 100 Days To Christmas eBook


Did you know that on September 16th, there were 100 days left until Christmas?!?  Does that not completely blow your mind?  I'm sure all of you are having a "where on Earth has this year gone?!" moment just like I had yesterday.

The holidays always sneak up on me with full force, leaving me SO unprepared to deal with all the things I'd like to accomplish.  I won't lie- almost every event in life sneaks up on me with full force and leaves me feeling unprepared, so it's not like the holidays are unique in that aspect, but you know what I mean.  :)

I'm embarrassed to admit the things I have done due to my lack of holiday preparedness over the years, but I'm all about full-disclosure over here.  How about Christmas cards, for instance?  I LOVE getting holiday cards (who doesn't?!), but can only remember sending them out once in the last *10* years... And that was only because it was the year we got married, so I had a good wedding picture we could send out.  And I think I only sent them out a week before Christmas.  I kept telling myself  "Well hey, they say Happy New Year on them too, so it's not like sending them December 20th is really that bad..."  Come on, Lulu.

Or how about the years we've bought a Christmas tree the week of Christmas?  Heaven forbid I just leave it up until Epiphany per my family's tradition and then just get rid of it...  So I end up having a Christmas tree in February.  Good times.

Christmas 2012
The infamous "2010 Tabletop Christmas tree" bought the of Christmas. Pretty sure this one stayed up until February as well.

Well this year, my friends, is going to be different.  As part of my 101 in 1,001 list, I'll be following the 100 Days to Christmas eBook on ListPlanIt.



Jennifer Tankersly has updated her brilliant 100 Days to Christmas for 2012, and it's better than ever.  She walks you through an activity to do each an every day leading up to December 25th- each and every one aimed at getting you prepared for Halloween, Thanksgiving, AND Christmas in a way that takes the stress out of planning and allows you to enjoy your holiday more.

For those of you that are hyper-organized, she has already corralled every printable you could ever hope to have in your holiday prep binder, and will give you great suggestions you may never have thought of.  And for those of you like me, who are hyper-UNorganized, it's like having your crazy organized friend hold your hand and tell you what to do to be prepared.  Pure bliss.

I'm excited to announce that I'll be giving away *2* copies of Jennifer's eBook on Friday.  Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter! You'll get 1 point for telling me a time when you felt unprepared for the holiday season, and another point for tweeting the giveaway via Rafflecopter.  Best of luck entering!

. a Rafflecopter giveaway
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My 30th Birthday Weekend, Part 2


My 30th birthday didn't just include my mom driving down from Dallas for the weekend to play babysitter while the Mr. took me out for a surprise dinner and piano bar date.  I didn't know at the time, but the Mr and Mama Martini had some other tricks up there sleeve. Which allowed me to knock out yet another goal on the list- pow!

Since we were on such a tight schedule for my birthday surprise on Friday, we never got around to opening presents or eating the AMAZING German chocolate cake my mom baked and brought down from Texas on my actual birthday. ( Fun fact- apparently it was the same cake I ate on my first birthday. Mama Martini, always rockin' the little details in life...) We spent the day after my birthday...um... recovering (ahem) from the night before (I did mention all the dirty martinis, didn't I?).  Saturday was spent eating breakfast burritos made with MY FAVORITE FOOD ON EARTH, green chile from Santiago's in Colorado (another incredibly thoughtful gesture from my mom).

  Santiago's Green Chili

Y'all.  Words cannot express just how good this is.  It's like Death Row last meal good.  My mom and I literally pack insulated lunch bags in our suitcases every time we head home to visit Boulder, so we can stock up on the stuff.  So a post-birthday breakfast burrito smothered in this was one of the highlights of the entire weekend.  Also? I actually took a nap on Saturday, which is honestly noteworthy for me because I just flat out don't nap.  I have taken precisely *1* nap since I brought the baby home from the hospital...  I'm just not a napper.  So kudos to my 30th birthday celebration being more exhausting than a newborn baby.

We finally got around to cake and presents after the sun went down Saturday night.  I scored some amazing fall boots from my parents, as well as the only thing I asked for - Rosetta Stone Francais, so I could kick off #16 on the list - learn to speak French.  The Mr really took the cake on the gift giving front, and gave me a gift card to JoAnn Fabric so I could buy a new sewing machine.  I was floored, and so grateful.  I can't remember the last time I had a birthday cake with candles, so that made the night even more special.


30th Birthday Cake

The little martini olive didn't know what to think of the candles

Little did I know, the Mr. and Mama Martini still weren't done with the birthday surprises...

xoxo,
Lulu
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Our First My Gym Experience


I'm still working from home part of the day for my corporate job, and trying to get Lulu McGee back up and running after a long maternity leave, so we don't have the opportunity to get out much during the week.  This has made it even harder to make friends in a new city, though I have managed to meet a few amazing women so far (Hi Erin! Hi Kenzie!).  What I hadn't anticipated about our self-imposed 'hermit chic' lifestyle was the fact that the baby has developed a serious case of the "stranger dangers". 

Since this kiddo hasn't been exposed to many people whose names don't begin with "Mama" or "Dada", she flips her lid if anyone tries to seriously interact with her.  Case in point- she freaked out harder at the new pediatrician when she was having her ears checked than she did when they gave her 3 simultaneous injections.  And when my mom "Gigi" came into town for my surprise birthday visit?  Let's just say it took a few hours before we validated that the strange blonde lady in her house wan't up to no good.  After these, and a few other choice instances, I decided that this baby girl was in need of some serious socialization stat.

One of my bridesmaids, Auntie Jess, used to work at a My Gym franchise in Scottsdale, so I was *thrilled* to discover one not too far from my house.  I knew that My Gym had an awesome program, since I think Jessie is awesome and she wouldn't work anywhere that wasn't.   I attended the My Gym open house event on Friday, and was so pleased with the owner and instructors I met.  Bonus for the baby easliy going into the hands of the owner- not even Gigi got that kind of treatment off the bat.  Needless to say, I was sold.

This morning was our first My Gym class, and it was twice as awesome as I even hoped it to be.  The baby was more excited than I had ever seen her, and had no problem with the instructors, moms, and kids running about.  Even with all the singing and dancing and running around, there was just one part of the experience about 3/4 of the way through the class  that I REALLY hadn't anticipated...





My Gym?  Worth. Every. Penny.

xoxo,
Lulu

(Disclaimer:  I wasn't compensated in any way for this review.  I just think this place rocks.)
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Do You Lulu?


So with a pregnancy that knocked me sideways with sickness for 17 weeks, a full-time job in Corporate America, a hospitalization for kidney stones (still haven't told you about THAT one yet), a baby, and a move to a different state, there is one thing I still haven't found the time to tell you about yet - my small business!

I'd like to {finally} formally introduce you fellow Dirty Martini Diaries readers to my business - Lulu McGee!




I launched Lulu McGee, an online boutique for children's appliqued and embroidered clothing, on Halloween 2011 and have loved every minute of running it.  Well... maybe not the 2am sewing sessions when I was 7 months pregnant, but you get the idea.  I started sewing and doing counted cross stitch as a hobby when I could barely count my age on two hands, so getting back to a world of fabric and thread is a real retreat for me.

Lulu McGee has actually been a seedling idea in my head for years, so I'm thrilled to have finally made it a reality.  Funny enough, I purchased my embroidery machine and started setting the business up last year, well before I was expecting to have my own little one around the house to sew for.  We jokingly say that Lulu McGee is what broke my husband in to the idea of what having a baby around the house was like, since our house was littered with onesies, tiny tee shirts, and burp cloths for almost a year before the baby actually arrived!


Workin' Hard for the Money - Lulu McGee

Lulu McGee Holdiay 2011 Command Center - Taking over the living and dining room to keep up

Lulu McGee Holiday Rush

Pregnant, tired, but most of all thrilled to be making my dream a reality

It has been a lifelong dream for me to start my own business (I'm not counting the in-line skating clothing company I tried to start at the age of 14... haha), so I feel so blessed to make this a reality.

It hasn't been a cake walk- coming home from a 9 hour day at my corporate job only to have dinner, put on comfortable clothes, and then put another 8-10 hours in at the machine some nights was taxing- and all the details that go into setting up a small business can be confusing (legal structures, accounting methods, and tax reporting was hard to get a firm grasp of even for a Business major like myself).  But what it has done is made me respect all of my friends who own small business that much more, has made me even more grateful for how supportive my friends and family have been of me, and has given me something that I feel truly proud of.  A small business I built (mostly) myself, that I am successfully running myself.  And that feels so, so good.

No get off my blog and go buy yourself some Lulu McGee! haha

xoxo,
Lulu
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A 30th Birthday Recap In Pictures


Synchro Swimming

London Olympics Synchronized Swimming on the tube while I finished a
 half day shift of my corporate job

Birthday Flowers

Birthday Flowers from Family- the most spectacular roses and Stargazer lillies I've ever seen
(which is saying something since I worked at a high-end florist in high school)
 
Mongolian BBQ

Wearing my favorite scarf to Mongolian BBQ (my fave) with Mama Martini, who drove from Dallas the
day before to play surprise babysitter

Birthday 2012
 
Photo with my favorite girl before The Mr. came home to take me to my surprise night out
(we played cheeseball matchy matchy in Lilly Pulitzer and I loved it)
 
Birthday 2012

W not feeling the photo session.  This "Pitiful Pearl" face is one of my favorite things
(That lip!!)
 
Luciano's

 
Luciano's in Mulvane. Had an amazing filetto al pepe verde (brandy, green peppercorn, and mushroom cream sauce. YUM) and a nice bottle of Italian chianti
 
Piano Bar
 
Surprise #2- a great reserved table at the local piano bar
 
Dirty Martini
 
 
Mama's first dirty martini since becoming pregnant with the babe.  and second... and third... and fourth...
(It was a fun night)
Not pictured: my amazing mom for driving from Dallas for the week to play babysitter, so the Mr could take me out, the Justin Beiber birthday card from my best friend, the fantastic birthday presents from my family (including a bracelet, leather boots for fall, Rosetta Stone Francais, and the most *amazing* new sewing machine on the planet) and MOST importantly, the love of my life who went WAY out of his way to make sure that his wife's 30th birthday wouldn't be spent at home by herself or having dinner on the couch in a new city.  Here's to ONCE AGAIN having waaaaay too much fun living in the moment to take any photos of ourselves together. 
Thank you hubs!  Best birthday ever.
xoxo,
Lulu

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101 in 1,001: #29- Get a Blog Redesign


First of all, I wanted to thank you all so much for the birthday wishes and for the encouragement regarding my goals list!  I so appreciate each and every one of you that took the time to reach out via Twitter, Facebook, or the blog to wish me luck on the new endeavor.  It's so nice to be a part of such a supportive community! So thanks again!!
_________________________________________________________________________________

I'm happy to say that I'm off to a great start with the list, and have already accomplished one of my major (for me) goals- get a blog redesign!  This goal was actually completed ON my birthday- nothing like checking a goal successfully off of the list less than 24 hours after starting!

Without further ado- here's the look of the new Dirty Martini Diaries blog-

Dirty Martini Diaries Makeover
I just can't get over how much I love it!  Click *here* to see it live and in person!

September 17th marks the 4th anniversary of this blog- holy cow.  Since I knew that this little piece of the internet was going to be around for a while longer (knock wood), I've been thinking that my little blog has been due for a major facelift.  My husband offered to have my blog redesigned as a birthday present, so I finally bit the bullet and reached out to my favorite web design company - Penny Lane Designs.

Penny Lane Designs is owned by a gal named Marina, who is as nice as she is talented (which is saying a lot, because this lady is WAY talented, yo!)  I've admired Marina's work for years, as she's the design guru behind some of my favorite blogs:

Erin at The Blue-Eyed Bride
Grits at Puttin' On The G.R.I.T.S.
Betsy at Heavens To Betsy
Mel at I Pick Pretty
Maggie at The Freckled Citizen

These are just a *few* of Marina's amazing designs, and they are all top notch.  Love.

I actually reached out to Marina a few months back, since I knew that she can have *quite* the waiting list due to her talent.  I lucked out and made it to the very end of her list before she closed her wait list to finish orders, and feel SO lucky that I was able to do so.  Marina hit the nail on the head the very first go' round, and added details I never in a million years would have thought of (how adorable is the little olive next to my post titles?! Obsessed.)

HUGE thanks to Marina for making my blog design dreams come true!

xoxo,
Lulu
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I Turn 30 Today. Here's What I'm Going To Do About It.


Well, here it is.

The big 3-0.

Today I officially leave my 20s, and say hello to a new decade.  I have to tell you, I'm feeling pretty excited about it.  To make this milestone even more meaningful, I've committed myself kicking of my 30s by living my life with intention.

The days can be overwhelming around here- taking care of the baby, working my corporate job part time, trying to get my home business back up and running after maternity leave, putting a meal on the table each night... It's exhausting.  By the end of the night, I'm thrilled to be watching The Real Housewives reruns for the 15th time, refreshing Instagram eleventy hundred times, and basically doing as little as I possibly can before going to bed much later than I should have.

I wake up the next day, but somehow 3 weeks have gone by instead of the one night I expected.  It's that irritating phenomenon where time flies by faster the older you get, but I feel like I have just been wasting whatever time has flown by.  I don't want to wake up, be 35 with a 5 year old child, and feel like all I have to show for it is a well-refreshed Facebook feed.  I need to start living life again.

In order to jumpstart my life again, I'm committing to a pretty big challenge- I've decided to participate in the DayZero project, also known on the interwebs as 101 in 1,001.  What is the 101 in 1,001 project, you ask?  In a nutshell, the challenge is to create a list of 101 things you want to get done in the next 1,001 days, or roughly 2.74 years.  And then do them all, one by one.  Like a New Years resolution list on steroids, really.

I've contemplated doing this challenge for a *very* long time.  In all honesty, the first time I thought about participating, my culminating 1,001st day should have been my 30th birthday.  So this list is roughly 2.74 years in the making.  I don't have a solid track record of sticking to simple New Years resolutions, really...  This project is honestly going to kick my backside.  There is a LOT that I'm committing to get done here, but  these are all things I've wanted to do or try over the last few years and have just not gotten around to.  So I'm finally going to make it happen.  I'll be blogging my way through the list, because frankly I love blogging and think that your support during this challenge will be critical.  And nothing says 'accountability' like committing to something on the internet for all to see.  No pressure.

Without further ado, here is what the next 2.74 years of my life is going to look like (in no particular order):

1.  Learn to crochet
 2.  Learn to knit
 3.  Learn the art of canning food
 4.  Follow the 100 Days To Christmas eBook on ListPlanIt
 5.  Go cycling
 6.  Go see Star Wars Exhibit at Exploration Place
 7.  Drive through the Flint Hills of Kansas
 8.  Take a trip to Salina, KS - my parents' hometown
 9.  Go see a Kansas Jayhawks basketball game
10.  Visit the Plaza in Kansas City at Christmastime
11.  Attend a CU Buffs football game
12.  Do the Bolder Boulder 10k run in 2013
13.  Learn to play polo
14.  Go to the Sedgwick County Zoo
15.  Pay for our trip to Costa Rica for Paul & Julie's wedding in cash (NO credit cards allowed)
16.  Learn to speak French
17.  Spend a day at El Dorado lake
18.  Take a camping trip to Lake McConaughy with my best friend's family and her sister's family
19.  Take a family lake or river fishing trip in Missouri
20.  Throw a housewarming party
21.  Build a back deck
22.  Put in a vegetable garden
23.  Take a vacation to my parents' ski condo in Keystone, CO
24.  Plan a trip to France or Italy to take when my 1,001 days has finished
25.  Visit a farmers market once a month
26.  Do a Turkey Trot run during the Thanksgiving season
27.  Learn how to make a pie crust from scratch
28.  Make a quilt for the baby
29.  Get a blog redesign
30.  Record an oral history of my grandmother and her husband
31.  Research and put together a family tree for the Mr and I
32.  Completely finish the baby's nursery
33.  Master and memorize Rick Bayless's Frontera-style red enchilada sauce recipe
34.  Pay off ALL credit card debt
35.  Put together a home management notebook
36.  Put together a master birthday calendar
37.  Send each person on the birthday calendar a birthday card *before* their birthday starting in January
38.  Embroider a needlepoint hanging for the baby's room
39.  Make 10 Christmas presents for friends and family
40.  Throw a dinner party
41.  Make one of Julia Child's famous recipes
42.  Learn how to tie a tie
43.  Learn how to tie a bow tie
44.  Memorize 5 Christmas songs on the piano
45.  Learn how to make 10 classic cocktails, bartender-style
46.  Read my Bible in a Year Bible
47.  Find "my" Bible verse
48.  Write a thank you letter to an old teacher
49.  Save $100 a month for the baby
50.  Create a meal planning system that works for our family
51.  Eat off of our meal plan for 1 month
52.  Learn how to play Bridge
53.  Learn how to play gin rummy
54.  Take a photo of the baby every day for a year and make a Blurb book out of it
55.  Wake up every morning at 5am for a month
56.  Join the public library
57.  Go orchard picking (apple, peach, whatever comes up first)
58.  Complete a master bedroom makeover with the help of Britany Simon
59.  Lose 25 lbs by New Years Eve
60.  Participate in a bible study from #SheReadsTruth
61.  Blog my way through the 101 in 1,001 challenge
62.  Write a letter to the baby every month on the 31st
63.  Avoid eating out for 1 month
64.  Have a photo taken with myself and the baby at least once a week
65.  Donate to a diaper bank once a month
66.  Learn how to make scones/tea cakes/traditional tea time foods
67.  Have a picnic
68.  Collaborate with my mom to make a family cookbook
69.  Collaborate with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to make a family cookbook
70.  Learn how to make candy from my mother-in-law
71. Sell something I've made at a craft fair
72.  Take swimming lessons with the baby
73.  Cook with 1 new ingredient a month
74.  Try 50 new recipes
75.  Try 2 recipes from each of my cookbooks
76.  Write a will
77.  Get life insurance
78.  Participate in The Nesting Place's 31 Days series
79.  Turn the TV off after 8pm for 1 month
80.  Take a closet inventory and build a wardrobe look book
81.  Host a board games night
82.  Learn HTML and design the family blog from scratch
83.  Floss every day for a month
84.  Organize all my Lulu McGee business paperwork
85.  Listen to the top 50 albums on Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Albums list
86.  Watch AFI's Top 100 movies of all time
87.  Read 25 books from my AP English book list from 2000
88. Read a comprehensive book about mythology
89.  Go through ALL of my 9(!!!) inboxes to clean them out
90.  Save up for a Lulu McGee work computer
91.  Learn Photoshop
92.  Improve my handwriting
93.  Learn how to french braid
94.  Develop the habit of playing background music instead of background TV
95.  Memorize 10 go-to recipes
96.  Hold the baby for 1 nap every day
97.  Take a road trip to a new place once a year
98.  Do the Ultimate Reset Cleanse
99.  Clean through all my memorabilia boxes and do something with them (Blurb book? Scrapbooks?)
100. Make a profit on my company, Lulu McGee
101.  Throw a party for completing my list!

Happy 30th birthday to me!

Let the games begin...

xoxo,
Lulu
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You Know You're A Parent When...


... you type "magic" into a Google search, and are more interested in the second autofill result of "magic sleepsuit" than the first autofill result of "Magic Mike".
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5 Years


5 years ago today, I packed my ferrets (yes, ferrets) into a rented minivan and started driving cross-country.

Movin' to NYC

Destination - New York City.

 I'm feeling pretty nostalgic today, if I'm being honest...  5 whole years since I took that humongous life leap; and my 30th birthday is one week around the corner to top it off.  

Central Park
The Mr and I, goofing off at Central Park Reservoir the day I got into town

When I first moved to Manhattan, the stars really aligned for me- my boyfriend (you know him ad the Mr.) was already living in the city, and luck would have it that I was able to move into a place with 2 of my best work friends from my previous job.  One had moved to Manahattan the year before, and was in desperate need of a new place after his lease was expiring.  The other was relocating to start Columbia's MBA program, and thought she was living in New Jersey with her fiance, she needed a place to crash in the city after late nights at the library.

Laura, Ben, and I shared a 1,000 square foot apartment right off of Riverside park and the Hudson river.  The place only had 2 bedrooms, and a closet-sized bathroom that didn't even have any electrical outlets.  Laura's fiance constructed a wall out of plywood and added a door frame from Home Depot to make her a small bedroom right there in the living room.

94th Street Apartment
Stringing popcorn for the Christmas tree in front of Laura's "bedroom" in the living room"

Ben had one of the bedrooms (the one with the window connected to the fire escape, because he was the boy and thus that seemed safer at the time), while I cozied up in a little 10x12 foot room all of my own with my contraband ferrets (ferrets are illegal in the city of Manhattan which made me a legit criminal. Awesome). I put the pet cage in the closet (only the width of a bedroom door), so I took some of my savings and installed elfa shelving from The Container Store across an entire wall of the room.

Halloween
You can see part of the elfa shelving here...  Photo clearly from 2008, nod to the Sarah Palin Halloween costume.

We had this narrow 12 foot hallway that led to a tiny living room, with this absurdly skinny galley kitchen flanking off to one side.  It was barely wide enough for one person to stand sideways, so cooking was always an adventure.

94th Street Kitchen
The Mr cooking our first NYC Thanksgiving. That's the kitchen in its entirety.

Then the Mr and I got engaged, and he moved in with me.  4 people, 3 ferrets, 1,000 square feet.  So what, you may ask, is the best way to fit 2 people and ALL their belongings in a 12x10 foot room?


94th Street Apartment

By sleeping in a full-sized bunk bed, of course.  We were 2 grown adults, camped out like teens sleeping in that thing every night.  I used to have first shower shift, so I'd put on my makeup and blow my hair dry in the dark at the desk while the Mr slept above (no outlets in the bathroom, remember?)

We later "upgraded" to getting an additional mattress, so that we slept on the ground and used the bunk bed as a lounge/loft space.  I would read up in the loft while the Mr studied for the GMAT late into the night.

94th Street Apartment

Then we got married.  And figured that as newlyweds, we probably needed to get our own place.  The stars aligned once more; Ben was being relocated to London for work, Laura had gotten married, graduated, and was ready to live with her husband full-time, and we scored arguably the most amazing apartment two newlyweds could ask for.

When the Mr first moved to New York, he ran into a guy watering flowers on the street during a walk and inquired about apartments on a particularly beautiful brownstone-lined block.  The guy took him up to an apartment he owned - a stunner - and told him it was for rent.  The Mr couldn't even afford a rental room with furniture at the time (true story, he slept on the floor a futon mattress in a room with no furniture in his first apartment), so this apartment seemed astronomically out of reach.  He took the guy's card, and went on his way.

Fast forward to almost 3 years later- on a whim, the Mr dug up that man's business card and inquired about that stunner of an apartment.  The tenant had just moved out, and it was ready for someone new.  It was meant to be.

85th St Apartment

Brick walls, a terrace deck, a working wood fireplace, a spiral staircase and a master bed and bath upstairs.  It may have only been 900 square feet, but it was amazing.

85th St Apartment

We were stuffed to the gills in that apartment from the minute we moved in, but we loved it.  We couldn't even bring our wedding gifts back to NYC with us because there was no room for all the kitchen gadgets!  I often wonder what it would be like to live there now, with the baby and all.  The owners lived there until their wife was 9 months pregnant with their second child, so it was totally doable...  But somehow I just can't imagine it.

I painfully long to go back to that apartment sometimes; I want to go back to sitting in front of the fire and watch the snow fall on the terrace while I sip Makers on the rocks and watch reruns of Mad Men.  I want to go back to hailing cabs and eating breakfast bagels from Lenny's on a bench in Central Park while sipping coffee that contained the perfect ratio of cream to coffee to sugar.  Sniffing spices in little India's Curry Hill, spotting celebs in SoHo, seeing the millions of twinkling lights covering the city at Christmastime.

But then I remember that I drank the Makers on the rocks every single night because I was unhappy with my job, and unhappy that money was so tight, and some days I could barely afford to buy soup.  I'm now living in twice the square footage for less than half the price.  I loved that life some days, but I do love this life now.

From a bright-eyed girl driving to Manhattan, starting a new life and a new adventure, to a new mom in Wichita, trying to juggle a husband and a corporate job a baby and a small business she wants to grow...  What the next 5 years will bring?  I can't wait to find out.

xoxo,
Lulu
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The 4th of July


Bow Baby

Starting of a post with my little little martini olive, who is now a whopping 3 months old.  Gracious.

First of all, wow...  Almost 3 solid months without a single post?  I guess that's what happens when you have a baby, your husband graduates grad school, secures a new job, and relocates your family to another state in an 8 week time period (more on all of that later).

So here we are- a family of 3, settling into life in Wichita, Kansas.  Yes, Wichita.  From New York City to Wichita in a little over 2 years...  Talk about a sea change. Here's a question for you- what do people in Kansas say when they're trying to make the point that the situation they're currently in is so much different than what they are used to?  Because I keep saying to myself "We're not in Kansas anymore..." but the thing is - we ARE in Kansas.  So what am I supposed to do with that?  But I will say this- I am absolutely loving every minute of it here so far.  And this 4th of July really helped underscore that.

  The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays.  My grandpa was born on the 4th of July, so my mom would always tell me that as a kid she thought all the fireworks were being shot off in his honor.  Her dad used to spend all day on the 4th emptying the gunpowder out of fire crackers into a coffee can, so she and her brothers could orchestrate little explosions of ant hills and things in front yard all day.  I had some fun 4th of July celebrations growing up as a child myself, but I always longed to relive some of the exciting celebrations my mom would recount.  My high expectations for the holiday always made sure the day inevitably fell a little short.

 The 4th of July here in Wichita was like that nostalgic, sparkly holiday I remember longing for in childhood, only honestly a bit better.  There was something so exciting about driving around these little old tree lined streets, seeing house after house decorated with American flags and bunting.  The Mr's coworker and wife had us over for a barbecue, which was so friendly of them since they hardly know us (a typical nicety we've experienced in Wichita so far).  We spent the late afternoon in back of their picturesque old white colonial located on a brick paved street.  It was almost too perfect. 

We couldn't stay too long as the baby had an EPIC meltdown, bless her heart.  I was a little sad to leave the party so early, and honestly a little embarrassed by the colossal fit she threw amidst total strangers (I know, I know, she's a 3 MONTH OLD BABY.  I get it.  She just never does this kind of thing.).  I figured that this would be where the night turned, making it yet another 4th of July that just fell short.  I'm happy the little lass pitched the fit she did, because the rest of the evening turned out pretty amazing.

As we drove home, we quickly realized that at least 1 in every 4 houses on each block had a group of people milling around out front, shooting off fireworks in the middle of the street.  Block after block went by, with huge sprays of sparks shooting up in all directions.  It almost looked like tiny, sparkly Bellagio fountains going off up and down the streets.  It was just fantastic.  By the time we made it to our street, almost all our neighbors were out on the curb, observing fireworks or shooting off some of their own.  And we're not talking sparklers here- we're talking big whistling fountains, huge masses of firecrackers, and even actual shoot-into-the-sky, Crack-Boom-Hiss fireworks that rain down over your head.  Since I've lived for at least 11 years in cities where fireworks are either basically or legitimately illegal, we felt like absolute children.

As soon as we got the baby to sleep, I put her in the baby Bjorn and the Mr went to work depleting our newly acquired cache of fireworks.  The baby can sleep through anything, so with one hand strategically placed over 1 of her ears and the other pressed against my chest, I stood in the yard as he lit cone after cone in the street.  There were a few relatively tame cones in the pack, but we were also blessed with some 10 foot tall streams of whistle-y, scream-y sparks.  There was even one the size of a cantaloupe that was decorated like a frog- his little open mouth flashed red like he was croaking while it went off.

4th of July

I think we're going to be pretty happy here.

xoxo,
Lulu
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3.31.2012


The day our lives changed for the better.

She's here safely after quite an unexpected arrival, she's fabulous, and I can't wait to properly introduce her soon!

Daddy & W




xoxo,
Lulu
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Recapping 39 Weeks


39weeks

(39 weeks and letting it all hang out- no makeup, natural hair, headed to what we now realize was our last prenatal appointment)
Cooking Time?: 39 weeks, 6 days today. Tomorrow? I'll be having a baby.
Whatever happened to the phenomenon everyone warned me about, where the last few weeks of pregnancy would seemingly to creep to a grinding halt? I've felt no such halt, I will tell you that much.
I am honestly just now settling into the feeling of *being* pregnant, and this whole tremendous, life-altering event in life could be over in 48 hours or less. I'm still figuring out how to navigate life with a protruding belly, which seems to get smacked into doorknobs and wall partitions more than I'd care to admit, and have just now mastered the best way to awkwardly squat/bend down to pick things off the floor. I've only recently gotten used to catching my exaggerated reflection in the mirror, and am at peace with the additional weight pregnancy has put on that reflected face. You can no longer see the ribs on my small frame, and I have actually forgotten what my body felt like with a waistline (though the dozens of high-waisted dressed abandoned in my closet remind me that there had to be one there at some point). But the belly will be gone soon, and will be replaced with a squirmy, snuggly baby girl.
Cravings: Cadbury eggs, cereal
Baby size: The Dr projected the little martini olive to be about 7 lbs 3 oz this past Friday... We'll soon see how closely she clocks to that!
Daddy's Questions For The Doctor: Other than an entertaining grocery exchange last week, where the Mr. convinced me to swap my Honey Bunches of Oats request for a healthier box of Kashi, he's been a real gem for the last stretch.
State of the Union: This is where the big news comes in- if all goes well, I'm being induced tomorrow, my due date! Many people have asked me why we're moving forward with induction at 40 weeks, and why I'm not just going to sit and let nature take it's course. The basic answer here is "this is the best decision for our family". Conditions are favorable (a phrase which reminds me more of sailing conditions than something you would say about prepping for a baby) so we're going to go for it.
Highlights: It was very surreal, going through this entire week knowing it's your last as a non-mother. I hope to recap the last week a little more for posterity's sake soon, but in all honesty my brain is just too overwhelmed to process things at this point!
Annoyances: I'm having a baby tomorrow! It just feels wrong to complain at this point...
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Recapping 37 Weeks


37w6d
(Love seeing the Mr watching CU basketball in the background... Exciting Thursday night around here, folks!)

Cooking Time: 38 weeks today, holy cow! I'll be recapping week 37 below. I really expected the days to start slowing down at this point, like everyone told me they would... I still feel like time is absolutely flying by, cannot believe my due date is 14 days from today!

Cravings: I'm up to at least 2 Cadbury eggs a day now (gotta get them in while I still can), and still more cereal. I'm still having a very tough time finding food that sounds interesting to eat. I have been eating meat during my pregnancy, because frankly it just tasted good, but I've started to turn off meat again and am trending back towards my old vegetarian ways.

Baby Size: TBD, since our next Dr appointment isn't until the 19th. I'm going to guess she's at least 7 lbs now though, because I feel So. Full. Of. Baby.

Annoyances: Per Dr's orders, I'm now working at least 3 days a week from home. It's a relief not to put the extra strain of a commute on my body each day, and I'm able to feel much more productive at home when I don't have to get up and walk across the building to go to the restroom all day. However, I miss my coworkers and feel frustrated that I can't perform simple tasks such as getting up and ready for work each day. I'm trying to remind myself that I need to take it easy, but all the things I need to complete before the little lady gets here makes that very tough.

Daddy's Questions for the Doctor: Another week with no Dr appointment, so no silly questions to report (darn). The Mr has been taking me out for walks around the neighborhood every evening after he gets home from school, which is a nice chance to stretch my legs after a full day working from the couch. He also downloaded a contraction timer onto his iPhone last night, to prepare for the main event.

State of the Union: Still in the dark about what's going on down there. I had some time-able Braxton Hicks on Saturday night, but they were completely painless. Tuesday brought on some serious lower back cramps and a couple of menstrual-like cramps. Thursday night was the winner with 3 or 4 legit, time-able contractions with a small amount of pain associated. I think the ol' body is starting to get prepped for the main event?


Highlights: This was a big weekend for our household - the Mr. celebrated his 31st birthday on the 11th! I've been planning a very special weekend for him since Christmas. I realized that this weekend fell just after he completed mid-terms, so he wouldn't have any big school projects to work on (a first since most of his weekends are occupied by school stuff). I secretly reached out to all his closest guy friends, and planned a surprise pre-fatherhood guys weekend for him to enjoy. This man of mine has taken such good care of his pregnant wife that he totally deserved a little spoiling before his daughter arrived.

They spent the day in a cabana at a local casino resort, and then gambled and caused mayhem all night. So much for a relaxing birthday, weekend, eh? When my Braxton Hicks contractions started Saturday night, I could only imagine how hilarious it would be if I went into labor right then, where he would be forced to cab it to the hospital and go through labor while simultaneously sobering up from a day of pool drinking. Feeling very thankful that didn't occur! He was beyond surprised, and so thankful for the gesture. A family BBQ at his sister's house Sunday night (after a day of recovery napping) capped off a perfect birthday weekend. Now it's time to see what surprises week 38 has in store for us!

xoxo,
Lulu
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Recapping Week 36


36w6d
(An exhausted, unflattering photo of 36w6d. I tell it like it is.)

Cooking Time: Trying very hard not to get off-track with these recaps! I'll be recapping week 36 below, so I don't lose track of the time and get too confused about what happened when (Ah, pregnancy brain, you are no friend of mine!) I'm 37 weeks as of March 9th, or full-term, baby! Now I don't have to feel quite so bad about secretly wishing we could get this show on the road already, since I know that she'd be in good shape to come out at any time. I'm starting to feel like a licking time bomb since my due date is coming so quickly, but also know that she could still be a whole month away.

Cravings: Cadbury Eggs are my favorite candy, so I'm pleased as punch to be having a spring pregnancy that coincides with eating too many creme-filled eggs. Still on a cereal kick (I have at least 1 bowl each of Frosted Mini-Wheats and Honey bunches of Oats every day), and now I'm also on to minty things. I've been stealing hostess stand peppermints from restaurants like a fiend, and have even been brushing my teeth more since I crave that minty fresh feeling. Pregnancy weirdness at its finest.

Baby Size: TBD, since our next Dr appointment isn't until the 19th.

Annoyances: I'm trying to come up with clever ways to say I keep swelling, but there are none. Swelling, swelling, swelling. I'm down to rUnning shoes and 1 pair of flip flops that still fit my feet. I've also started to feel dizzy every now and then, which is a reminder that I'm pushing myself a little to hard at this point.

Daddy's Questions for the Doctor: With no appointment this week, the Mr has kept any tattletale questions to himself. He has been hyper-sensitive to any mention I make about back pain (my upper back has been killing me due to not sleeping well)- any time I mention my back aching, his eyes get bigger and he says "lower back pain?!" God bless him for paying such good attention in birthing class and knowing that lower back pain can be a sign of early labor.

State of the Union: I forgot to mention that Baby Girl dropped it like its HOT on March 3rd, sinking a few solid inches down my pelvis. I was sitting on the couch watching Hugo, and could literally feel her shifting down. This has brought on a new case of awkward baby placement, since her hiccups now jar my hip bones and her tiny feet keep getting stuck in my rib cage. I literally have to drive my minivan like a lowrider vehicle, tilted back a good 45 degrees so I can drive. Pure class.

Highlights: Attending my co-worker's baby shower, who is due 2 weeks after me with a little boy. The Mr. had midterms this week, which is just 1 more step towards his graduation in late April. Insane to think that he's almost done with his full-time MBA program, and that he'll be walking across that stage not only as a graduate but as a father now, too! Never saw that one coming! haha

xoxo,
Lulu
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36 Weeks


36w


36wks with the Mr

(The Mr. wanted to sneak in on a photo)

Cooking Time: 36 weeks this past Friday, or officially 9 months pregnant! (I'm recapping late, because my Dr. had to reschedule our 36 week appointment for this past Monday.) Nobody ever seems to talk about the fact that pregnancy is indeed 10 months long (40 weeks divided by 4 weeks in a month equals 10 months, yo), so I've been confusing people when I say I'm 9 months pregnant and I still have 4 weeks left until my due date. The photo is from this past Thursday night at 35w6d, so I'll be recapping week 35.

Cravings: Sadly, nothing. I've basically lost my appetite this week, making life a little difficult because I still have a human growing inside me that needs nourishment, you know? Nothing really sounds good to eat at each meal, which makes me feel like a picky toddler when it comes time to figure out what's for dinner.

Baby Size: We're thinking somewhere between 5.5 - 6 lbs already, which is about ready to surpass my 5 lb 12 oz birthweight. Sounds like she'll be closer to her daddy's 7 lbs and change.

Annoyances: Swelling, swelling, swelling. I worked from home on Monday due to the sheer misery swollen feet and ankles were bringing me... I've since been sporting the oh-so-chic fashion combo of support hose, the Mr's running socks, and loosely-laced running shoes to work with my dress pants and dress/leggings ensembles. Totally against the business casual dress code here in Corporate America, but if it makes the difference between me physically being able to walk or not I'll take my chances. Walking and talking is actually quite a challange right now, which makes me feel a bit like a Biggest Loser contestant.

Daddy's Questions for the Doctor: The Mr. was able to attend my appointment, so no bizarro questions for this week!

State of the Union: My poor doctor tore her ACL last week, so we had to reschedule our typical weekly Friday morning appointment to Monday. Luckily she was able to see us on Monday, because we were able to see our little girl on our last ultrasound! She has chubby little fists, a button nose, and definitely has her mother's Reese Witherspoon-style pointy chin. We think she was doing some thumb sucking in there as well, which takes after me. I'm 75% effaced, but dilated just a fingertip. Sadly, my doctor's knee surgery will put her out of the game for a few weeks... We
'll be skipping our 37 week and 38 week appointments, and picking up at 38.5 weeks. I'm sure I'll have a lot more change to record then!

Highlights: My sister-in-law threw me a baby shower on Sunday the 26th, with all my nearest and dearest in Arizona. This was my third and final shower, each one having been everything I could have ever hoped for and more. I'll be recapping the shower in a later post, but it was certainly the highlight of the week this week.
Coming in a close second would be the final baby shopping trip I took with my mother on Saturday, where we purchased our crib bedding. It's NOTHING like I had in mind, and yet is absolutely perfect for our family. Yes, I have always planned on making the little martini olive's bedding myself, but let's be real here- we have 5 weeks to go, and I still haven't found the time to do it. Sometimes you have to just accept the fact that you can't do it all- a lesson I've been slow to learn this pregnancy, but am becoming more aware by the minute I need to embrace. Photos of the nursery to come when I can get all the shower gifts put away.

Other Thoughts: Still the same "holy cow, this is about to happen" mindset, though feeling so much bigger and slower is starting to make the days fly by less slowly.


xoxo,
Lulu
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35 Weeks Today


I had every intention of fastidiously recording each week of my pregnancy.

Really, I did.

But week 6 hit me like a full-speed freight train and trapped in a prison of nauseous misery 24/7. I didn't break out of the misery until sometime between week 16 and week 17, so the last thing I wanted to do was take a picture of myself all raggedy and in a coma of anti-nausea meds, and record just how crappy I felt week after week.

Wild Birthday Weekend - 6w2d pregnant
My 'wild' 29th birthday weekend- full horizontal position, snuggie, and cold compress with ginger drink, water, and apple cinnamon tea at the ready. The glamour of it all. (6 weeks, 2 days pregnant).

You can bet your bottom dollar that weeks 7-17 looked basically the same, except they brought forth a lovely pregnancy-induced rash around my nose and mouth that no makeup seemed to hide and no medicine seemed to cure. Weekly blog fodder? Notsomuch.

I considered it a win of epic proportions just to take a shower each day (which I did sitting on the floor of the tub, thankyouverymuch), so blogging (or grocery shopping, or trying to leave the house looking like a functional adult) was just not high on the priority list.

Fast forward to now, 35 weeks pregnant on the button and seeing the end clearly in view. I thought it'd be fun to track the last 6(ish?) weeks of pregnancy on here, now that I feel (somewhat) like a normal human being again, so I could look back and remember how the final stretch panned out. I'll be more or less borrowing my pregnant blogger friend-turned-supermama Kate's weekly update format, since she did such a fine job recording her pregnancy for posterity. So, without further ado, let's get to updating!

35 weeks

Cooking Time: 35 weeks today (photo is from last night at 34w6d), so I'll be recapping week 34

Cravings: Last week was Cheetos, this week it's Frosted Mini-Wheats all the way. And trying to OD on OJ for the cold I've been trying to avoid, which is weird for me since I'm not a juice fan.

Baby Size: The Dr. is estimating the little lady at about 5.5 lbs and 17 inches long... My birthweight was 5 lbs 12 oz, and I was 2 weeks late at that, so it sounds like she's going to far surpass where I clocked in.

Annoyances: Bring on the swelling. I finally had to take my wedding rings off on Tuesday (sad!) due to an increasing case of puffy fingers. My feet feel like 2 lead bricks by the end of the day, and my legs feel like I just finished a long run. This is only going to get worse over the coming weeks, so I pray this doesn't affect my ability to go to work.

Daddy's Questions for the Doctor: I've taken up the practice of asking my husband if he has any questions for the doctor (he doesn't usually attend my check-ups), more for sheer entertainment purposes than to actually assuage any of his worries. Entertainment because he likes to use this Q&A forum as an excuse to call out the things he doesn't think I should be doing, and use the it as a way of tattling on me to my lovely OB which I find absolutely hilarious.

Questions The Mr. told me to ask the doctor this week:

"Should you be eating more salad every night with dinner?"

(which comes in response to the nightly argument we've had the last week over me not wanting salad with my dinner entree. Since, you know, I'M FULL OF BABY and all, which makes 3-course meals kind of unappealing for a squished stomach)

And the other gem...

"You've been rolling over and sleeping on your back sometimes at night, which I read is dangerous. Should I be somehow wedging you into place on your side, or tying you down or something?"

(TYING ME DOWN IN PLACE. For real.)

State of the Union: Today was my first examination to determine what's going on in baby land, that whole "turn your head and cough" situation pregnant ladies face towards the end of the journey. Pleasant. I'll be calling this the State of the Union from now on, because call me old fashioned but I really just don't want to plaster words like "cervical" all over the ol' blog here. However- I do want to keep record of this if/when we go round 2 on the baby front, and posting it on my blog will probably be the only place I won't lose the information. So if you're not into these kinds of details, feel free to skip ahead.

Dr. W says I'm 1/3 of the way thinned out, with no dilation, and have shifted towards a more anterior position. This baby's been super head down since the get-go, so both the Dr. and I were a bit surprised to find out that Little Miss Martini's head is sitting on top of the front of my pelvic bone, instead of being down in my pelvis like we presumed she was. I'm hoping she'll shift her little noggin back and down into position soon, but I also know that means I'll have to use the ladies room about 1,000 times more than usual which I'm not looking super forward to. The bathroom is on the other side of the office, so the thought of making that trip more often with these 2 lead feet is not the slightest bit appealing.

Highlights: She's been wiggling up a storm the last few weeks, which is equal parts adorable and uncomfortable. She loves to stick her feet in my ribs, which feels like I'm being violently tickled from the inside. She's also been doing these crazy rolls from side to side in the evenings, which makes my stomach undulate like the surface of a waterbed. It looks highly creepy, but is pretty miraculous at the same time. I just keep thinking "There's a HUMAN in there, yo!" My mom also flew in yesterday to attend my AZ baby shower this weekend, so I'm excited to have her help around the house while the Mr. studies.

Other Thoughts: The last 2 friends to be due before me have had their babies (Carla welcomed Asher Mills and Kate welcomed sweet LJH, so I'm literally the last man standing at this point. The next one to have a baby. All I keep thinking is "It's about to get realllll up in here, realllll quick....."

xoxo,
Lulu

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Anybody Still Out There?


Just checking in on this ol' blog of mine...

T-minus 7 weeks and counting until the little martini olive makes HER grand appearance... The last 5 months have been a wild ride, indeed.

I suppose I can't really tell people I'm a blogger if I haven't blogged in the last 5 months... I really miss blogging, so hoping I can renew my 'blogger' status here in the near future. Changes are obviously on the horizon, and I'm hoping I can get back into the swing of things to capture the memories.

Hope to be back soon...

xoxo,
Lulu
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